To Make Perfect Corn Tortillas
In understanding how to choose a tortilla maker we dive into the often overlooked foundation of Mexican cuisine, the humble tortilla. Often people just starting to get interested in cooking Mexican food at home under-appreciate the tortilla.
You might think making tortillas from scratch is too difficult and time-consuming. Or maybe you truly believe that store-bought tortillas taste just as good.
The truth of the matter, of course, is that fresh, homemade tortillas have a wonderful flavor that you just can’t get at the store.
One thing is for sure, if you want to regularly bring the true Mexican flavor into your home or become an expert Mexican cook, think about investing in a tortilla maker you can use at home.
How to Choose a Tortilla Maker and Press
When choosing your tortilla press, you will have plenty of options. In Mexico, you will find lots of cast iron and even wooden tortilla presses, but a cast aluminum tortilla press is also an option.
3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Tortilla Maker
- Think about the diameter of the tortilla you like as this determines the size of the tortilla maker to buy. Otherwise you will haave to own several tortilla makers to achieve different sizes. The most common diameters are 6 and 8 inches or 15 and 20 cm. Wooden makers let you make larger size tortilla
- Look at your budget. Manual tortillas are inexpensive however, they require more work and experience to operate and make the tortillas perfectly. Instead, electric tortilla makers are a dream because they are easy to operate and once you find the right temperature you are all set.
- When looking into how to choose a tortilla maker it is wise to look at the types of tortilla flatteners/makers:
They are the most durable and more expensive than aluminum. The main advantage of the cast iron tortilla maker is the weight because you won’t have to exert so much pressure while making your tortillas. On the other hand keep in mind it is going to be a heavy tool.
Also, cast iron can rust while other tortilla makers won’t, especially the versions being made in China today. To recognize a true Mexican tortilla maker look for a roughly applied silver coating. this prevents iron from rusting.
Aluminum tortilla makers
Aluminum has the advantage of being rust-proof and also much lighter than iron or wood. They are soft and require care while cooking because you can break them if you make too much pressure. They are not as heavy as the cast iron ones, therefore you have to make pressure to flatten the ball of masa.
Wood tortilla makers
These makers should be made of high quality woods for the job. I recommend mesquite wood or oak. These makers are bigger in size therefore they eat more real estate in your kitchen. I live in an apartment so that is a consideration.
Wood makers are square and you simply place the masa in the middle to flatten it. The advantage is that they make a bigger tortilla than the others however, you need to finish cooking them separately. Using one is more time consuming.
Electric Tortilla Maker
Of course, in a modern kitchen there is a gadget for everything, and a gadget for making tortillas perfectly and efficiently is not an exception. This is when the tortilla maker and electric tortilla cookers come in.
When choosing an electric tortilla cooker, you’ll probably want to choose one that has temperature settings marked in degrees, rather than just high and low. That way you will be sure not to burn your tortillas in the tortilla maker.
You should also look for quality non-stick coating. The electric tortilla press flattens and cooks the tortillas at the same time, saving you time and effort.
Now that You Know How to Choose a Tortilla Maker It Is Time To…
Make Your Tasty Mexican Tortillas
The first step to making tortillas is to make the dough, or masa. I can hear you saying “but Marcela, turning corn into flour is extremely time consuming” therefore I recommend you to purchase corn flour or masa harina at the store, rather than making it yourself.
To make a dozen tortillas, just mix two cups of the flour with one cup of water and a dash of salt, knead the mixture for three or four minutes, then cover it and let it sit for an hour.
Once your dough is ready, you need to divide it into small balls and make the tortillas.
In the olden days, Mexican women made tortillas completely by hand, and became such experts that they could pat out perfectly round, wafer thin tortillas using nothing but their hands. Nowadays, it is much more common to use a tortilla press to do this.
After using the tortilla press to flatten your dough balls into tortillas, you need to cook the tortillas.
Traditionally, this is done using a cast iron skillet. Just add a bit of oil to the skillet and cook both sides of the tortilla for a few seconds. Then pop it into a tortilla basket to keep it warm until serving.
You are all set. Do you have any good tips about choosing a good tortilla maker? Share it with us!